One year of high school biology.
“I definitely understand the way that conservation works a lot better, and the way that it ties into economics and tradition. My appreciation for nature has deepened and I feel more comfortable exploring it.” – Ria R. | Wilton, Connecticut
Designed for students with a background in biology, this program investigates some of the exciting recent developments in conservation biology. Topics include: what is biodiversity, why is it threatened, and why is it important; habitat alteration and species loss; captive breeding as a conservation tool; conservation genetics; designing protected areas; the effects of exotic species in local ecosystems; conservation medicine; and the impact of global warming on ecosystems and wildlife. The course uses real case studies from current research to take an in-depth look at the challenges in conserving life on earth, and the unique ways scientists and ordinary citizens can make a difference.
Class discussions are supplemented with digital simulations of conservation biology and biodiversity concepts. Students learn how to contribute citizen science data to help us understand biodiversity changes in real time, and make observations of their own ecosystem. The course culminates with a stakeholder analysis and proposal for the creation of a new marine reserve.
Please note: Though this course is intended primarily for older students, it is also open to highly qualified rising freshmen and sophomores.
Dr. Lauren Esposito is the Schlinger Chair of Arachnology at the California Academy of Sciences. She is also the co-founder of a science, education, and conservation non-profit called Islands & Seas. Before coming the the Academy, Lauren travelled extensively in the Caribbean region as a National Science Foundation postdoctoral fellow (University of California at Berkeley), studying biogeography of arachnids in one of the greatest biodiversity hotspots in the world. Her doctoral dissertation was completed at the American Museum of Natural History in collaboration with the City University of New York, and focused on the medically important North American scorpion genus Centruroides. Lauren’s current research focuses on trying to understand the patterns and processes of evolution in spiders, scorpions, and their venoms. A passionate educator, Dr. Esposito has organized education programs on the importance of conserving biodiversity, worked in digital science curriculum development, and taught courses on a range of topics for elementary through graduate students.
Eric Stiner received his M.A. in conservation biology from Columbia University and is currently a Ph.D. fellow at the University of California at Riverside researching adaptation and environmental effects on the evolution of an organism’s genome. He researches everything from insects to mammals and hopes that his projects will further conservation biology efforts locally and in at-risk ecosystems across the globe. More specifically, his current projects aim to solve some of the mysteries behind unique evolutionary processes that do not adhere to more traditional theories of evolution. He is an avid field biologist and has conducted field work on three different continents. He spends as much time as he can in the field teaching courses and collecting data from vertebrates and invertebrates for a myriad of ongoing projects. He is a co-founder of the nonprofit conservation organization Islands & Seas, based in San Juanico, Mexico. Much of his current work involves education and conservation in this fragile ecosystem just south of the Vizcaíno Biosphere Reserve, one of the largest and most diverse biospheres in the new world.